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Jailed Egyptian blogger Ahmed Douma on hunger strike: Lawyer

Ahmed Douma, a vocal critic of Egypt's President Morsi, goes on hunger strike.

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An Egyptian protester waves the national flag in Cairo's landmark Tahrir Square on June 5, 2012. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

Jailed Egyptian opposition activist and blogger Ahmed Douma is on hunger strike, his lawyer told Reuters on Thursday.

Douma was handed a six-month jail sentence on Monday on charges of insulting Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. 

Lawyer Ali Soliman said he started his hunger strike on Wednesday, telling Reuters an "example is being made of Douma."

Opposition activists say Douma's case is politically motivated, which the government denies. 

"Douma is an important revolutionary figure," Malek Adly of Arabic Network For Human Rights Information told Reuters. "By targeting him, the prosecutor-general is carrying out the orders of the government which is trying to silence the opposition."

But Douma remains defiant. He signaled a V-for-victory sign from behind bars at a Cairo court on Monday as activists clapped and chanted: "Why is the government afraid of you, Douma?"

Douma is the first Egyptian activist convicted of such a charge. He was detained on April 30 after calling the president "a killer" in reference to a deadly government crackdown on a February protest in Port Said. Forty people were killed in the unrest. 

More from GlobalPost: Activist Ahmed Douma detained for allegedly insulting President Morsi

Douma described Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood-backed president elected last summer, as a criminal and called his leadership illegitimate. He also accused the Muslim Brotherhood of organizing a violent raid on an anti-Morsi demonstration last year. 

This is not Douma's first stint behind bars. Politically active during the ruler of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown by popular protest in February 2011, was jailed on charges of incitement and vandalism in 2012 during clashes with the nation's military authorities.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/egypt/130606/jailed-egyptian-blogger-ahmed-douma-goes-hunger-strik